As much as I love working on my blog and word vomiting all of my errant thoughts at you, it doesn’t pay the bills quite yet. So five days a week from 7-3, I still have to call myself a marketer. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do; it helps me critique brands with an insider perspective, which, in turn, helps me help you understand why you feel the need to buy every new launch on the market.
Marketers use a lot of techniques to convince you that you desperately need something that you probably wouldn’t even want otherwise. Marketing tactics like urgency, scarcity, and FOMO are some of the most prominent and impactful methods used today.
Without getting too philosophical here, I want to give you a brief overview of FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out, and why it’s so powerful. The extremely popular Fyre Festival documentary, Fyre Fraud on Hulu will have you believe that FOMO is a new discovery that works more prominently among millennials, when in fact, FOMO has been around since the inception of marketing.
FOMO can take many shapes and affects everyone a little differently, which makes it particularly challenging to combat as a consumer.
Let’s take a look at one of the most basic marketing gimmicks of all time: the flash sale. Flash sales typically last a very short amount of time and promise an unparalleled bargain to the consumer. Whether it’s a brand you love or a brand you’ve been meaning to try, flash sales a great way to immediately capture your customer’s attention.
If you’re a millennial, you may fear missing out on a trend or an idea. With the rise of social media, aka the personal highlight reel, one of our (yes, our) greatest fears as a generation is being left behind. We fear missed opportunities to be included rather than missed opportunities to save dollars, hence the overwhelming amount of Fyre Festival ticket sales.
If you’re a part of an older generation, or just prefer to live on the thriftier side of life, you may fear missing out on a deal and stress about paying more down the line. This is especially important, because often times, you’ll stress about paying more for something that previously had not considered purchasing in the first place.
When you see an good deal, be sure to ask yourself a very important question before proceeding to checkout.
Would I buy this product if it wasn’t on sale?
Don’t just jump to your first reaction, because chances are you’ll initially say yes because you currently want to buy the product. Take a step back for a moment; have you researched the product? Have you read reviews? Have you compared this product to its competition?
If the answers to those questions are no, then you’re probably falling trap to FOMO more than you actually have a need for the product.
Another more practical way I like to question my purchases, is by asking “where would I store this product”? Everything you own needs to have a home otherwise it’s just clutter. Can you visualize a permanent spot for this product in your life? If not, maybe it’s okay to pass this time.
It can be challenging to resist FOMO, especially in this age of consumerism. Marketers are very good at their jobs and likely know more about you and your interests than you know about yourself. But if you learn nothing else from me, learn this: buyer’s remorse has a much longer psychological impact than FOMO, but that’s a blog for another day.